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The Cure for Madness

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The Cure for Madness is a quest available in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.



The Dragonborn is met by Gabriella upon arrival in the Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary. She redirects the Dragonborn to speak with Astrid immediately. Astrid states that Cicero went crazy and attempted to kill everyone before fleeing. She recommends searching Cicero's room for clues.

In his room, on an end table next to his bed is the final volume of Cicero's Journal. All the previous volumes can be found on nearby elevated surfaces. When reading the final volume, it will provide details of the password and location for an older and unused Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary near Dawnstar. After letting Astrid know of the findings, the Dragonborn is instructed to kill Cicero. She provides the horse, Shadowmere, as a means of getting to him. Despite the fact that Shadowmere is unique in appearance, choosing to obtain him is not essential to completing the quest.

While in the Sanctuary, talking with Nazir can also provide additional available side contracts.

Tracking CiceroEdit

Outside the Sanctuary is a black pool that resolves itself into Shadowmere. He can be ridden to Dawnstar or else the Dragonborn can fast travel there. Once there, Arnbjorn is sitting injured on the ground just outside of the Dawnstar Sanctuary. He tells of his injuries, saying they were from a fight with Cicero, but that he injured Cicero equally as seriously, so the Dragonborn should just "follow the blood" to find him. After suggesting that he return to the home Sanctuary, Dawnstar Sanctuary should be entered.

Once inside, Cicero can be heard asking whether the Listener has come, and then saying that Astrid has sent her best. There is a full set of the Jester's Outfit on a table to the left as you enter the first room. As the Dragonborn continues, you will come to a bridge with a spear trap. As the trap is triggered, Cicero taunts the Dragonborn. It is possible to lure the Sanctuary Guardian to the other side of the bridge into the spike trap. Continuing on, at the bottom of a circular set of stairs is a table with the Archery skill book The Marksmanship Lesson and the one-handed skill book Fire and Darkness, as well as a set of Worn Shrouded Armor on a cupboard to the right. In the very next room, along with the Sanctuary Guardians, is a fire trap. Cicero continues his commentary as the Dragonborn proceeds.

The next room contains a set of steps in the southwest corner leading up to a gate of metal poles that can be opened by pulling a chain near the bottom of the stairs. This opens a large round opening in the northeast wall, and a door in the southeast corner. The stairs lead back to an earlier part of the path, so they should be ignored for now. The southeast door is barred from the other side. The round opening leads to an ice cave (which Cicero calls a "forced addition").

Deeper into the cave you will find the unique troll Udefrykte, along with numerous dead animals and bear traps. There is a ledge on the left side with a ramp leading to a chest containing a meager amount of coins. Continuing on through the bottom level of the cave, you will come to a room with a wooden door that leads to a retracting pole gate (the chain to open it is on the wall to the right). At the bottom of the stairs is a hallway with coffins on either side. The coffins are mostly empty - a few have bloody rags or skulls, though some may have Bone Meal. There is a master-locked chest in a dead end passageway to the left (south) with leveled loot. At the end, another set of stairs leads up to the right (north) to another retracting pole gate opened by a chain to the right. At the end of this hall is the barred door to the left (that can now be opened) and another door to the right that leads to Cicero. As the Dragonborn approaches, they sheath their weapon.

Confronting CiceroEdit

Cicero is found lying on the ground faking an injury. He asks that his life be spared and that the Dragonborn lie to Astrid about killing him. Should the Dragonborn decide to let him live, there is no effect on the outcome of the quest nor the attitudes of the other Brotherhood members. It should be noted that if Cicero is spared in this quest he will become an available follower for the Dragonborn. If he is killed, his body can be looted for his outfit (the Jester's Outfit on the table at the entrance is less powerful), some gold and a leveled dagger. If he is attacked, he will get up and fight back, revealing that he isn't actually injured.

Completing the QuestEdit

Return to Astrid and inform (or lie to) her about Cicero's death. She will then thank the Dragonborn and suggest they hold on to Shadowmere "a while longer," in addition to starting the next quest, "Recipe for Disaster."


Journal Entry

Upon my return to the Sanctuary, I was informed by Gabriella that there was some kind of "incident" with Cicero. I need to speak to Astrid to find out what happened.

  • Objective: Talk to Astrid

While I was away, Cicero went berserk and tried to kill Astrid. He fled the Sanctuary, with Arnbjorn in pursuit. I need to locate them both, and then kill Cicero.

  • Objective: Search Cicero's room
  • Objective: Talk to Astrid
  • Objective: Behold Shadowmere
  • Objective: Locate Arnbjorn
  • Objective: Talk to Arnbjorn
  • Objective: Enter the Dawnstar Sanctuary
  • Objective: Kill Cicero
  • Objective: Kill Cicero, or leave the Sanctuary
  • Objective: Report back to Astrid

After learning that Cicero went berserk and tried to kill Astrid, I was ordered to go to the Dawnstar Sanctuary, find him, and end his life. The matter has now been resolved.

  • Quest complete
  • Note: The objective to Behold Shadowmere appears in the journal after the Quest complete stage if it is never completed in the first place (i.e. if the Dragonborn proceeds directly to the Dawnstar Sanctuary)


  • The Legend of Red Eagle may be found after descending the first staircase in the sanctuary. Just before the hallway out of the L-shaped room there is a bookshelf next to a chair and table to the right. The book is found on the lower section of the bookshelf. This will start the quest "The Legend of Red Eagle."
  • It is possible to both get Cicero's outfit and let him live, by using the Perfect Touch and Poisoned perks of the pickpocket skill, as well as any form of paralyzing poison. To get his clothes, Cicero can be pickpocketed, giving him the poison. He will become paralyzed shortly, allowing his impossible to nab clothes to be grabbed without fail. Alternatively a Staff of Paralysis or the spell Paralyze can be used.
  • If the Ghost of Lucien Lachance is active while exploring the Dawnstar Sanctuary, Lucien will tell the player that it is not wise to kill Cicero, because the Keeper is a sacred position in the Dark Brotherhood. He says that "Our Dread father does not wish this!"
  • The Jester's Outfit can be picked up just as the Dawnstar Sanctuary is entered. A full set is on a table just to the left of the entrance. A better version can be looted from Cicero, if he is killed.
  • For those who dislike the chore of leveling the Sneak skill, this is the perfect opportunity to increase skill levels. Although time consuming, this quest has perfect opportunities to level this skill. After entering the sanctuary, the Jester Outfit can be taken, which will help with sneaking. After equipping the outfit, Cicero should be found but not killed. After speaking to him, moving to the corner directly behind him and crouching into the sneak position should allow the Dragonborn to be hidden. Once the Sneak eye says hidden, the corner should be faced, then walking slowly (or if the "Silence" perk is unlocked, walking at a regular speed) will eventually increase Sneak skill. This method is quite time consuming, but it works.
  • Cicero's 500 gold may be taken twice. This can be done by pickpocketing him before attacking. If the Dragonborn is caught pickpocketing Cicero's gold, Cicero will attack and talk about his ploy to trick the Dragonborn and reveal he's not really injured. However, if the Dragonborn sheathes their weapons, Cicero will accept the surrender and go back to his fetal position.
  • If Cicero is spared (just lying to Astrid upon return to the Falkreath Sanctuary, saying that he was killed), and the quest "Hail Sithis!" is completed, he will have the option to be a Follower. Inside the Dawnstar sanctuary, Nazir will state that he knew the Dragonborn wouldn't kill him. Nevertheless, Cicero is back.
  • If the Dragonborn decides to kill Cicero, the door can be unbarred across from the door leading to the room Cicero is hiding in. Then, back up onto the steps in the first room, sneaking and shooting Cicero with a bow from a distance will cause him to get up and immediately lay back down. The process can be repeated until he is dead.
  • Humorously, the numeric value in the Console Command Quest Stage ID for the objective to "Behold Shadowmere" is 666.
  • Killing Cicero will charge the Ebony Blade. Those who are with the Dark Brotherhood but are iffy about certain contracts may choose to kill Cicero for further progress on the Blade.
  • With the Perfect Touch perk, sets of Shrouded Armor can be pickpocketed from the Sanctuary Gaurdians.
  • If Serana is a follower, she may sit on the ground near Arnbjorn, apparently mimicking his injured stance.
  • When conversing with Cicero, there is an option to mimic his mannerisms with the first dialogue option: "There is only one way to cure your madness. Me." Cicero will then congratulate the player, saying they are "clever" and that he likes it.
  • The leveled weapons of the Spectral Assassins can be taken once they are killed if the player picks them up from the ground before the Assassins' bodies vanish. Note, however, that the weapons are invisible, so the cursor should be rotated quickly to find and obtain the weapons.
  • Cicero writes in his journal that "the guardians of the Sanctuary recognize me as Keeper," so he is not attacked by the Guardians. Although the Dragonborn is Listener, and had the pass-phrase to enter the Sanctuary, the Guardians are still hostile. This could mean that they understand why the player has been sent to the Sanctuary, much like the specter of Lucien Lachance, and thus the Guardians are protecting Cicero.
  • It is possible to kill Cicero without having to fight him, by sneaking behind the skeleton on the left side and repeatedly shooting him with a bow. Cicero will stand up once you shoot him, but then will automatically lie back down into his injured position, though to do this you need a relatively high Sneak skill.


This section contains bugs related to The Cure for Madness. Before adding a bug to this list, consider the following:

  1. Please reload an old save to confirm if the bug is still happening.
  2. If the bug is still occurring, please post the bug report with the appropriate system template  360  / XB1  ,  PS3  / PS4  ,  PC  / MAC  , depending on which platform(s) the bug has been encountered on.
  3. Be descriptive when listing the bug and fixes, but avoid having conversations in the description and/or using first-person-anecdotes: such discussions belong on the appropriate forum board.

Start a Discussion Discussions about The Cure for Madness

  • The Cure For Madness- Dawnstar Sanctuary Bug

    4 messages
    • Once i was using my male Battlemage for a and bit then i decided to switch to my female Vampire and... she had my males head for some reason...
    • my problem is when i went to leave the sancuary the door to skyrim wouldnt open. Anyone know ho to fix this?
  • Cure for Madness Quest: Glitch

    • So, Astrid has no option for talking about Cicero, but she says "I took that prancing fool into my home, and this is how hey repays me?&qu...

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